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5 Large Structures That Have Been Moved Short Distances

I was driving around my neighborhood recently and discovered this creepy looking house that the city is getting ready to move across town. Still not exactly sure why (seems demolishing it would be better), but it got me thinking: what other big structures have been moved and why? Here are five that have interesting histories.

1. Belle Tout Lighthouse

belltout

Built in the early 1800s and located in Beachy Head, East Sussex, the Belle Tout Lighthouse was moved 56 feet in 1999 as a retreating coastline threatened its existence. The 850-ton landmark was moved using hydraulic jacks that pushed the lighthouse along four beams that were lubricated with grease.

Lighthouse fun fact: Early lighthouses like these that were built before electricity, relied on oil lamps to guide the ships. The Belle Tout Lighthouse had so many lamps, it went through 2 gallons of oil every hour.

2. Empire Theater

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The revitalization of Time Square and 42nd Street in New York City during the 1990s (some called it the Disneyfication) was in full swing when the 7.4 million pound Empire Theater was rolled down the block to its current home. Traveling less than a foot per minute along eight rails (sort of like a train, if you can picture that), the theater was successfully moved 168 feet over the course of four hours. The 86-year-old former burlesque house was moved to clear the way for a 25-screen movie theater, the biggest in the country at the time.

Speaking of big:
the Empire is considered the biggest structure ever moved in New York City.

3. Brown University's Peter Green House

greenhouseA few years ago at Brown University, a 300-ton house built in 1868 was moved 450 feet to make way for a series of linked green spaces and walkways. The house, which is used by the department of history, was moved over a 3-day period and also rotated 90 degrees in the process.

How now Brown cow?
In its nearly 250-year history, Brown has relocated 26 buildings around campus!

4. Abu Simbel

AbuSimbelBoltonEgypt--48051241701356_crop_539_256

Pharaoh Ramesses II had these magnificent temples built in the 13th century BC to commemorate an alleged victory in battle. But more than three thousand years later, in 1964, they had to be cut into pieces and moved 65 meters up to higher ground to avoid flooding from construction of a nearby dam along the banks of the Nile River.

Let my temple go, already
: It took 4 years to dismember the temples, number the pieces, and then reconstruct everything up at the new site.

5. Floating Church of the Redeemer

floatingBuilt in Bordentown, NJ in 1847, the Floating Church of the Redeemer was towed along the Delaware some 40 miles to the Dock Street wharf in Philadelphia. When they lost their lease a few years later, the church floated back across the river to Camden, NJ, where it was rolled on wooden columns to a nearby lot.

A not-so-merry Christmas: Several years after it dropped anchor in Camden, the church was destroyed by fire on Christmas morning.

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Animals
Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London
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Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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